Daily Art Moment: Derrick Adams

Boy on Swan Float, Derrick Adams, 31 x 45 inches, woodblock and screen print with fabric collage on Rives BFK paper. A young boy with brown skin and black hair sits in a large inflatable swan against a blue background, seen from the side. The large swan is shown in whites and gray, each tone a separate shape placed to depict the inflatable’s contours. The swan has a black mask around the eyes and the bright, orange beak. The boy sits between the swan’s wings facing left. He is depicted in the same manner as the swan with brown, tan, and grey shapes making up his figure. A triangle of bright green and white polka dots suggests the boy’s swimsuit. His toes peep out from the end of the float at left. The background is a flat sky blue.

As warmer weather approaches, we are all dreaming of lazy summer days. This recent acquisition by Derrick Adams captures the pleasures and poignancy of timeless summer afternoons. Using 68 puzzle-cut woodblocks, seven runs of screenprint, and fabric collage, Adams depicts a young boy resting on a gigantic inflatable swan in an expanse of blue water. The artist uses solid zones of color to build the forms of the float toy and the child. In keeping with Adams’s penchant for collage, the boy’s polka-dotted swim trunks are made from a small triangle of polka-dotted fabric. Although no additional clues are given, the child and his pneumatic waterfowl are presumably in a pool, rather than a lake or the ocean. Historically, pools have played a large role in the segregation of Black communities. As Adams has stated, his Floater series (which includes both paintings and prints) posits that “respite itself is a political act when embraced by Black communities.” We are delighted to welcome Adams’s work into the collection with this stunning large-scale print.

Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings

Derrick Adams (American, born 1970), Boy on Swan Float, 2020. Woodblock and screenprint with fabric collage on Rives BFK paper. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Greg Tibbles, 2020.40.1 © unknown, research required

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